Home Of Long Island Stories

                                                                                 Welcome to Long Island Stories. 
 
 
Authors note
: 2016 marks 10 years since I first started this site. It began as a labor of love that I imagined would reach a few friends, family and a select few others who shared the same interest as me in forgotten and unique stories of Long Islands historical past.  Little did I know it would grow to what it has today, as apparently there are a good deal more people out there that share my love of this subject, as the visits to this site have exploded!  It has been quite a journey. The many long forgotten and unique tales and people we have found have given us a glimpse into what Long Island was really like long ago and hopefully in a way that brought them “back to life again”.  I have tried to avoid the well-known stories and historical people of Long Islands past and have instead focused on the forgotten “common people” and unique stories that cannot be found easily today. It is my belief that these stories and people are just as interesting as the more famous ones and just as important in forming the fabric of the Long Island we know today.

I am looking forward to continuing to update the site as often as I can, and I am hopeful that these stories continue to peek the interest of those who read it and bring back to life the stories and people of a long ago Long Island!

 I would like to ask a favor however. I have worked on Long Island Stories for these many years and have shared all of my stories and research with anyone who is interested.  As Long Island Stories has become more and more popular I have seen many of my stories copied per bedim or taken in sections and re-produced elsewhere under other titles.  I have even seen some of my story titles taken and appear (slightly altered) on books about Long Island subjects and even and author who used the "historical ghost story" themed title.You will note that I provide and credit all of the sources for my stories.  Not only is this the right thing to do, but also hopefully by doing so, it creates more interest in the tales I am telling as readers can be assured these are well researched stories. I ask that those using the information from Long Island Stories simply credit the site. To accommodate our visitors, I will soon be updating this site with and email address I can be reached at for comments or questions. Thank you.  And welcome to Long Island Stories.

 An Introduction to Long Island Stories

 I like to think of myself as a Long Island history detective.  What does that mean? I have lived my entire life on Long Island and have always been fascinated by its rich and varied history.  Of particular interest to me has been the many historic legends and stories that center around Long Island, and more importantly the roots of these legends and stories.  How did they start?  Did they involve real people?  Were the stories based on real events?  Could I actually go and visit the areas they talked about and find out something about the individuals involved?

 Initially my research involved the origins of the many ghost stories and legends that centered around Long Island. Many of the books I had read on the subject were very interesting and a number were quite well done. But in general, they tended to simply tell the story without telling you much about the background of the events and people that made up the story. That was the real interest for me. I wanted to uncover the history around them.  The real people and events, if there were any, that were the basis of these tales. Because to me, the scariest and most interesting stories are always those that are based on real people and real events.

 It was initially through my pursuit of information on the local ghost stories, legends and folklore of Long Island that I encountered many of the most interesting historical people and events of Long Islands past.  Some of the historical people I encounter are well known. But many of the people and stories I found had been long forgotten, remembered by few, but ready to be retold.

 This site gives me the opportunity to share some of the stories I have found with others that have the same interest as me.  Some involve ghosts and hauntings, and many simply involve unusual events or people from the past that I have run across and hopefully have been able to “bring to life" again. 

 I want to make something very clear. I am neither a professional writer or a professional historian. I hope you will forgive my occasional grammatical errors (I actually spelled grammatical wrong the first time) and simply enjoy the stories.  And, if you find any historical errors I would love to hear about them so I can correct them. There is always someone out there that knows a little something more than you do and I am certainly open to that. And I hope that eventually as I get better at this that I can upgrade my web site a little more but for now, this will have to do. I will be including an email address in the near future for you to contact me.
 

An invaluable tool I have utilized to research the history of Long Island has been historical newspapers. The wonders of technology now make copies of historical newspapers from as early as the 1790’s available to view on line. These papers range from local publications like the Patchogue Advance, the Argus, the Corrector and the Long Islander to larger publications such as the New York Times and the Brooklyn Eagle.  I particularly find the small newspapers provide invaluable insight to the everyday lives of the people and events of the towns they covered, and I use them quite a bit to “flesh out” what it was really like to live in the time it was written. But I also soon found out that the journalistic norms of today were not always employed in the good old days. Information was often skewed by the opinions of the local editor or the reporter covering the story (not that this does not occur today, but not as blatantly as back than).  Facts and details were often not researched as carefully as is the case now, and errors and inaccuracies were common.  I realized that it was important to verify and double check dates and facts with more than one source, and whenever possible I try to do so.  

 But despite these challenges, the old newspapers were invaluable. There is no better place to get a firsthand feel about a community and its people. History books recite facts and provide second hand accounts and details. These local historical newspapers give you firsthand accounts of events as they were happening and provide the type of rich and often overlooked details that help bring the time they are written in to life.  While reading them, I actually feel as if I am being transported back to another place and time and by using them as a resource I am able to hopefully give you some of that same feel.

 As the years have gone on more tools have become available.  The amount of “on-line resources” available have exploded and sites such as Find a Grave and Ancestry.com have added wide reaching resources that are often helpful. But to me, it is still the hard work of visiting libraries and museums that is the most valuable and most rewarding. It is there that I can actually find the real “source document” that makes up the story or person I am trying to research.  To that point, I want to once again thank the staff and collection of the Patchogue-Medford Public Library.  This library contains one of the best local and Long Island history collections I have come across.  Housed primarily in the Celia M. Hastings Local History Room, you will find a wealth of historical documents, books, maps, journals, postcards, letters, historical firsthand accounts and pictures.  This collection is not only about the Patchogue-Medford areas (although that collection in itself is impressive) but indeed covers the history of all of Long Island.  In addition, the historical resources listed on the library's web site are truly impressive and seemingly grow weekly.  One could spend days just exploring this site. Broken down by category on the "Local History" page is an impressive listing of sources and research aids that are available to you.  Many contain "on-line" resources that are easily accessible and available to all.  Mark, the Senior Reference Specialist at the library continues to be the driving force behind these efforts and the web site, and has been a wonderful source of information.

 Long Island Stories is currently broken down into a number of sections with the two main ones being “Historical Long Island Hauntings and Legends” and “Patchogue Stories”. These two areas contain many of the stories and tales from around Long Island.  I have singled out Patchogue because of its abundance of local lore, fascinating people and history that this town has to offer. The “Long Island Hauntings and Legends” section contains stories from around the many towns of Long Island. There are other sections such as “Who’s Haunting Lakeview Cemetery”, “The Harts Tavern Mystery” and “The Traveling Dead of Patchogue” that were larger stories that required more space that I felt needed their own section.  “Who’s Haunting Lakeview Cemetery” is actually made up of 5 separate fascinating stories that are all tied to Lakeview Cemetery.

Please remember, this site is not intended to be a "fixed document". It will grow and change as I find new stories and information and it will be updated as new facts or corrections come to light. Please come back often!!